World-renowned Canadian operatic contralto who earned praise on both the operatic and recital stages. Ms Forrester performed in many of the world's leading venues over her long and distinguished career.
June 18, 2010Message from Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, on the death of Maureen Forrester
OTTAWA – It was with great emotion that my husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, and I learned of the death of Maureen Forrester, one of Canada’s impressive voices and a true opera legend.
Born in Montréal, she quickly captivated the New York scene with her soprano register, which—over the years—evolved into a splendid contralto. She was in demand the world over and her renown quickly became international. But Maureen Forrester always remained faithful to her country and was a passionate ambassador of Canadian composers.
On behalf of all Canadians, we would like to offer our sincerest condolences to her family and loved ones. Members of the Order of Canada are also in mourning, and the entire country has lost a formidable woman of immense talent whose art touched and dazzled us all. We will never grow tired of hearing her voice.
FORRESTER, Maureen Katherine Stewart -
July 25, 1930 - June 16, 2010 On June 16, in her 80th year, our dear mother Maureen Forrester passed away peacefully surrounded by her family.
She is survived by her children Paula (Peter Berton), Gina (Paul Dineen), Daniel (Hayley Tyson), Linda ( Paul O'Sullivan) and Susie (Bruce Whaley) and her grandchildren Laura, Thomas, David, Joanna, Ryan, Galen, Hayley, Henry, Tyson, MacKenzie, Megan, Dylan, Matilda, Hannah and Adam and her best friend Irene Bird (Bailey Bird ).
After thrilling the world with her glorious voice, musicianship and shining personality for decades, Mom spent the last chapter of her life struggling with the debilitating disease of Alzheimer's. Born in Montreal to recent Irish/Scottish immigrants May Arnold and Thomas Forrester, Mom was the youngest sister to Beryl (Barry), Arnold and Jean (Norman). She left school at the age of 13, embracing the rich English and French tapestry that was Montreal in those years and embarked on her journey to become a leading force in the world of classical singing.
She married Violinist/Conductor Eugene Kash and had 5 children, while continuing to pursue an international singing career. At a time when her contemporaries went abroad in order to fulfill their professional dreams, she chose to stay in Canada and was passionate about promoting Canadian arts and culture. For decades she tirelessly travelled the globe with the greatest conductors and musicians of her era. She delighted everyone she met, from prime ministers to busboys, with her energy, humour and joie de vivre.
Our mom loved to bring her family with her whenever she could and we are the better for it. When she couldn't take us along, she would fly back for a day or two between engagements to attend a school concert, football game or birthday. Mom taught us feminism, humanity, humility and grace. She lit up every room she entered and told a great joke.
None of us will every forget her love for gourmet cooking, beautiful table settings, interior design and flowers ... she loved beautiful things and even more, she loved to share them. Everything she did was large and celebratory. She had no fear and never looked back.
Thank you to the sensitive and caring staff at Belmont House in Toronto.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Alzheimer Society, Belmont House, Baycrest or PAL Toronto (Performing Arts Lodge).
Thank you to Wilfrid Laurier University, where the Maureen Forrester Archives and Recital Hall provide a monument to our mother's everlasting legacy.
A private family service will be followed by a public memorial to be announced at a later date (TBA
Her daughter, Gina said her mother "quietly slipped away" Wednesday after her family had spent two days at her bedside.